Commenting on today’s Spring Budget, Emma Atkins, CEO at Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, said:

“The focus in today’s Budget towards addressing the skills gap is welcomed, however greater clarity is needed about the full extent of how this is defined.

“The Government are correct to acknowledge that young people are leaving schools without the skills needed for today’s global market, however it’s crucial that this definition is expanded to reflect the importance of ‘soft’ skills and non-formal education as part of this process.

“Without addressing the shortage of confidence, motivation, aspirations and resilience that currently exists within today’s generation of young people, the UK risks failing to meet the demands of industry. This will also lead to young people not being empowered to reach their full potential.

“This is particularly relevant to young people who are facing disadvantage, where development of these attitudes is even more significant and will be crucial towards their ability to grasp opportunities, achieve greater prosperity and lead a positive life.

“Over the coming months Dame Kelly Holmes Trust will be working with politicians and leaders from across education, business and civil society to discuss where positive character traits can be matched to employability and establish a framework to determine how this can best be embedded and measured by schools.”